from Traverse City called in to complain about an increase in the misuse of
pronouns ending in -self. They are being used in place of object pronouns, as
in “Give the check to John or myself,” or “According to herself, the price of
coffee will continue to rise.”
a valid point. Those sentences should read, “Give the check to John or me,” and
“According to her, the price of coffee will continue to rise.” Of course, being
of Irish descent, I make allowance for the imperial deferential mockingly used
by Irish wives: “Himself wants another cup of tea.”
are some valid pronouns ending in –self; they include myself,
yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.
There are two kinds, and their type is determined solely by their position in
The intensive pronouns are used to intensify or emphasize
the subject of the sentence or another noun or pronoun in that sentence. They
are placed side by side with the word they are emphasizing.
- I myself witnessed the accident.
- He himself claims to have been
abducted by aliens.
- The play itself was designed
to stir the king’s conscience.
wrote the letter to the Mayor
- You yourselves
are responsible for this mess.
Reflexive pronouns point
back to the subject.
- I witnessed
the accident myself.
should let yourself enjoy the magic
of the moment.
pride ourselves on superior value
pays herself a hefty salary.
like to sit in the dark all by themselves.
Remember that if the
verb is in the imperative mood (a command), the unwritten subject is always the
silent pronoun you.
- Please let yourself in when you arrive; the door
- Don’t sell yourselves short.
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